One of the great things about dogs is that they find joy in the mundane–they anticipate every walk with excitement. Even if their human knows it’s only going to be a 15-minute walk this time or that they’re just going to walk around the same old neighborhood, dogs trot into the walk with a purpose, pulling at the leash as if they know this walk will be special, each and every time. But sometimes even dogs are surprised by just how well a walk turns out.
Surprise 1: This morning, Duke, Gertie, and I started our walk in the little park near our house. I was trying to figure out how I could really wear them out before I headed to the Iowa game, and we saw some speedy runners go by. Many more runners, some speedy and some not so, followed. Once I saw several guys in wrestling singlets and girls in costume, I realized it was the Coe College Homecoming 5K. Gertie and Duke watched and wiggled, flabbergasted by runners in Tin Man costumes (the homecoming theme was “There’s No Place Like Coe”). Gertie finally pulled Duke and I over to check out two funnel-capped participants on bikes. They admired and pet her, so she felt fulfilled.
While Gertie would have liked to join the runners (and some of them looked like they would have liked to have her pull them), the novelty of watching a couple hundred festive runners go by, and prancing alongside them, satisfied both dogs.
Surprise 2: Gertie found a treasure. She spotted it (or, more likely, smelled it) nestled in the grass near the middle school. She snapped it up and ferried it home to her yard (and then her living room):Surprise 3: Gertie has made friends before on walks, but it doesn’t happen every time, so today’s new buddy counts as Surprise #3. We happened to walk out along the 5K route and followed the same path back, so the college kids working the race saw us twice. On our way home, one of them switched places with his friend, then called out to me, “Hey, can I pet your dogs?” He looked sheepish, but Gertie answered in the affirmative by wiggling and sidestepping her way over to him as Duke loped dutifully behind. As Gertie leaned into his legs, we chatted about his fawn boxer from home, who he was missing. I remember yearning for some canine interaction in college as I missed my golden retrievers, so I was extra pleased that Gertie and Duke met this friend and “made his day,” as he said.
Bonus Surprise: The dogs also enjoyed a post-game surprise–their Uncle Nate came to visit! Duke had not met his Uncle Nate yet, and after some initial suspicion decided he liked this visitor. Gertie, on the other other hand, was so ecstatic to see Nate in the driveway that she charged at the storm door hard enough to force it open and sneak out to greet him!
Gertie and Nate cuddling at Christmastime
What surprises has your dog enjoyed on walks?